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Debate on the State of Racial Discrimination Worlwide

Monday, 23 March 2015

UNITED NATIONS

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

28th Session
20 March 2015

Intervention by Greece

DEBATE ON THE STATE OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION WORLWIDE

Theme: Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today

Mr. President,

Greece aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

We warmly welcome the Minister of Justice of France,and the members of the Panel and thank them for their thought provoking presentations.

Tomorrow, is an important day of remembrance for the South African people and the whole world. The massacre in Sharpeville which occurred only 55 years ago, should be every year remembered internationally through activities like the one we have today within the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. This will allow us to keep memories alive and work together to avoid any such tragedies in the future.

Greecestrongly believes that despite differences of approach, the fight against racism should unite the world, as this phenomenon is unfortunately still with us in all of our societies and has to be fought at all levels. Last year, in the context of the Greek EU Presidency, we had the pleasure to host along with the Permanent Mission of South Africa a side event on ways to effectively fight racism by learning
lessons from the past with the participation of Advocate George Bizos the lawyer and lifelong friend of Nelson Mandela. This is the story of a European who left Greece in order to escape from Nazism during the Second World War and went to South Africa in the quest for freedom. Unfortunately, he had to face again the worst form of discrimination and thus decided to join the South African people through its legal expertise and become one of them in their fight for democracy and freedom.

As to the action taken recently in my country, we are pleased to announce that Greece has set the fight against racism as a top priority in its first national Action Plan on Human Rights launched last year and also adopted last September a specific law on this issue, in an effort to upgrade the existing framework. Combating racism is a high priority in the agenda of the new government of Greece.

We look forward to hear today relevant experiences from other members States and most certainly from the panellists, experiences which will be useful in our continuing efforts in this area.

Thank you Mr President

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